Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continuous efforts at reaching out to the Indians living all over the world may prove more than fruitful for him in the 2019 General Elections. According to a report, the Election Commission(EC) has decided to take measures to “ensure” that over 10 million Indian passport holders across the world get to exercise their right to vote.
DNA reported today that the EC would realise this aim through a “cannily mounted contest and a survey”. The contest would remain open for 30 days. It would include categories like slogans, songs with original compositions, posters, photos and short films, while the 60-day survey contains 24 questions.
The winners of the contest would get a free round trip to India and honoured by the EC on the National Voters’ Day (January 25). The contest would also have weekly lotteries and other prizes. The NRI participants would also be able to earn “karma points” by promoting the campaign on social media.
The Election Commission has joined hands with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS for this mission to include overseas voters into country’s electoral process. The mission will start this month with a survey and contest, which has been tag-lined ‘every vote counts’, to crowdsource ideas from people living abroad.
The findings of the survey would be analysed by TISS and submitted to the EC which will forward it to the government. Quoting sources, DNA reported that the government may bring a bill to amend Representation of People’s act during the Budget session early next year in this regard.
Last year, Modi government had informed the Supreme Court that the Union Cabinet would discuss a draft bill to allow e-voting by NRIs, armed forces and security personnel living outside their constituency.
According to present rules, NRI voters are required to be physically present at the voting booths. In 2014, only 11,846 NRI voters had registered for voting.
As per estimates, there are about 10,037,767 NRI voters.